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(The Denton Journal)
An Eastern Shore Miser.- No more curious or interesting character perhaps ever lived on the Eastern Shore than William J. Handy, of Somerset County, who died last week at the age of 85.
The Handy family is a prominent one in Somerset and Worcester counties, and several of its members have risen to distinction. William J. Handy was born before the 19th century began, on a farm on Jones Creek near Princess Anne, and lived there until he was taken away by an order of the court a year or so ago. He was thoroughly educated and remarkably intelligent. He studied law, but never practiced. He never married. He was of miserly habits, and in slave times, it is said denied his Negroes food enough to keep them from being hungry;- the weekly allowance being a peck of corn and two pounds of bacon. So (they) had an evil reputation throughout the countryside for stealing. He had a hundred slaves and a large-landed estate.
Handy accumulated a large amount of money which he kept hid about his premises, being afraid to trust a bank with it. In 1851 he was robbed of $3,200 which was never recovered.
When he lost his slaves through emancipation, Handy became embittered and enraged. It made him almost helpless, and his lands were never thoroughly cultivated afterwards. And the revenue raised by hiring out slaves was gone, so that he became more miserly than ever, and it is said that his sister who kept house for him, with thousands of dollars around her, did not have enough to eat.
In 1863 a second attempt was made to rob him. The house was entered, but Mr. Handy opened upon the intruders with a double barreled shotgun, and drove them off.
After this affair Mr. Handy kept strict watch and ward over his money. Even in the hottest weather the windows and doors were kept fastened down, and Mr. Handy and his sister led miserable lives. During the night while one slept the other would watch with a double-barreled gun and pistol heavily loaded at hand. Even during the day Mr. Handy kept his gun in his hand and seemed to be constantly afraid somebody would rob him. The farm became a wilderness, and the house almost inaccessible from the bushes and thorns that grew around it.
(In a third robbery attempt he told would-be robbers to go ahead and kill him but his sister persuaded him to relinquish $3,000 in gold. He hired detectives to track down the robbers but when they were located he refused to identify them.)
A short time after this (the robbery) his sister died and he was left alone, and he would have died several years ago from hunger and cold had it not been for the kindness of his neighbors. He would furnish neither food nor raiment for himself, yet he persisted in the house in which he had eked out such a miserable existence, though kind friends offered to care for him at a reasonable figure. But he rejected every generous offer, and would have remained under the old roof until his death had not the house been reduced to ashes. He was then forced to take up quarters elsewhere.
Two years ago he was judged a lunatic and Col. Levin L. Waters was appointed by the court trustee to sell the property and take care of the proceeds.
(The News- Frederick, Md)
The Eastern Branch of the Maryland Agricultural College, near Princess Anne, Somerset County, is rapidly growing to be a flourishing institution.
Mayor Fred W. Parsons announced that construction was to begin on a new boat dock near Pocomoke's Winter Quarters Golf Course. The 28x90 foot dock would cost $1,000 and was expected to last "up to 20 years." Dredging work for the dock would be done by the Norfolk construction company that was currently involved with the building of the new bridge that would be part of the Pocomoke By-pass. The Mayor and City Council felt the new dock would bring an increase in trade in conjunction with a proposed Chincoteague Bay-Pocomoke River Canal.
(Daily News-Record- Harrisonburg, Va.)
NAVY MAKES RETURN TO WALLOPS ISLAND
WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (AP)- The United States Navy, which closed its Chincoteague Air Station in 1959, has returned here to break ground for a new $6.8 million combat system center.
The new computer-age facility, a two-story steel frame structure, is to house the Navy's Aegis Combat System Center and is set to be completed in June, 1986, Naval officials said at a ground-breaking ceremony Monday.
The new facility is expected to bring some 120 new civilian and military personnel to the area and officials say they anticipate annual employment increases. The Wallops Island flight facility employs 400 people.
Pocomoke City Mayor Dawson Clarke said he and his town council had visited Washington to lobby for the new center.
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